Downs Group Colleagues

Core Beliefs of The Downs Group:

  • Children over the age of eight need and deserve the love and stability of a permanent family.
  • The most effective child welfare work is led by youth in the system and by alumni of care.
  • The hardest work of child welfare consists of services to youth over age eight.
  • Services designed to prevent children from coming into the system are essential.

The Downs Group, LLC seeks to make currently used terms such as "hard-to-place" and "unadoptable" things of the past.


"The Downs Group’s work in our state transformed the landscape of services to older youth."
- State Independent Living Coordinator



A Message From the PresidentChris Downs, Presdident

The Downs Group, LLC recognizes that among the greatest challenges facing child welfare is the fact that older youth who come into out-of-home care have the hardest time while in care, are less likely to leave the system at all, and have fewer chances to live in safe, loving, permanent homes. We use our expertise to help your organization.

Our focus is different.

  • The Downs Group focuses on youth ages eight and older.
  • This group of older children encounters more obstacles and has a tougher time getting out of the child welfare system.
  • The most effective child welfare work is led by youth in the system and by alumni of care.
  • Once they enter these systems they frequently become victims of the "pinball effect."

The pinball effect is when a youth bounces back and forth from one placement to the next on a repeated basis. In a perfect world, all of these youth find forever homes (i.e. placed permanently). Few child welfare organizations achieve such perfection. Stories of the 20,000+ youth who age out (reach legal adulthood) or leave child welfare organizations each year underscore just how often they changed homes, schools, friends, families and so on.

There are many private and public companies working on front end (i.e. prevention) services for youth of all ages. Many agencies work to reconnect infants and young children to families of origin and to new families via adoptions or other permanency placement. These companies do extremely important and outstanding work for other areas working with the foster care system!

These youth require specialized & concentrated support.

The Downs Group, LLC provides reasonably priced approaches with proven results in all areas of Positive Youth Development.